The Vault №29
After some incessant needling and the exchange of certain bits of valuable information, I finally got my hands on the combination to the JayIsGames vault. Let me tell you, taking the grand tour is quite an experience: in-between Dora's stash of gil and the stacks of unreleased Disney DVDs you'll find all manner of slightly-dusty but still excellent casual games. Today we'll be looking at a point-and-click advergame that puts the rest to shame, an adorable shockwave action game that will be sure to throw you for a loop, and a webtoy that you might find a little sketchy.
- Happy Seed - Yeah, it might ultimately be hawking the Nissan Cube. Still, all other advergames could learn a lesson from this point-and-click tale about a mysterious plant cube that comes to our world and the transformations it brings. It's more interactive narrative than puzzler, but it has a charming simplicity that borders on the elegant, and a visual art style that's unique even today. Don't spend too much time analyzing the circle vs. square debate: this one's about curiosity and exploring new things. Nissan keeps hiding this beautiful piece, which is sad since I'm sure that playing it might sway a few new car buyers. Thankfully we have mirrored it for posterity.
- Loop - Shockwave has been so finicky on modern computers that it's easy to forget why it was once the premier online gaming platform. Well, it's games like Loop, an action matcher hailing all the way back from 2001 that remind us. It's a whimsical tale about Ada, a girl who likes to catch butterflies, told in a evocatively beautiful paper-craft aesthetic, and utilizes a fluid mouse-driven looping mechanic that was mind-blowing back then. It's a little easy, and perhaps simplistic by modern standards, but still inspires thoughts of frolicking through a sunny meadow with your best friend. The fact that a version hasn't come out for WiiWare is a missed opportunity indeed.
- Scribbler - Finally, there's a webtoy for all of us who've always wanted to make beautiful art, but have stumbled at the crossing and hatching stage. Scribbler labels itself a "generative illustrative toy", but that description doesn't quite encapsulate the experience of seeing computer algorithms make complex line drawings out of your simple sketches. With a real-time scribbling sequel now available and a HD version recently released for the iPad, it's the perfect time to play around with the numerous settings and unlimited potential of the original. Considering there are so few opportunities to collaborate with a robot, Scribbler should draw you in just as much as before.
While we welcome any comments about this weekly feature here, we do ask that if you need any help with the individual games, please post your questions on that game's review page. Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and rediscover some awesome!